Ottawa wants to pass Bill C-21 in the 'coming weeks,' ban ‘high capacity’ firearm chargers

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said gun manufacturers should no longer be able to sell modifiable chargers that hold up to 30 bullets. He also wants to pass Bill C-21 'in the coming weeks.'

Ottawa wants to pass Bill C-21 in the 'coming weeks,' ban ‘high capacity’ firearm chargers
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
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Gun control remains a top priority for Public Safety Canada, with a ban on high-capacity firearms chargers expected in the future.

In an interview with La Presse, Minister Dominic LeBlanc said gun manufacturers should no longer be able to sell chargers to Canadians that can be modified to hold 20 and 30 bullets.

"We will also apply obligations to arms manufacturers to ensure that we cannot easily alter a high-capacity charger,” he told the publication.

Under the Criminal Code, it is strictly forbidden for civilians to possess a magazine of more than five cartridges for most semi-automatic long weapons. However, the current regulation allows manufacturers to sell magazines designed to hold 20 or 30 bullets, provided they limit their capacity to five bullets.

Richard Bain, who gunned down one person at a Québec nightclub in September 2012, altered the weapon used in the shooting to include a modifiable charger that holds 30 bullets.

“People who find it funny to go to their basement, with a screwdriver, to alter a charger, will face significant criminal penalties,” noted LeBlanc.

Those with modifiable chargers, even for benign purposes, will be compelled to dispose of them accordingly, according to the minister.

"It is not our intention to let people be in possession of high-capacity chargers," he said, suggesting no “grandfather” clauses would be available to law-abiding firearm owners.

Upon the adoption of its regulatory framework on gun control, the Trudeau Liberals intend to take another stab at Bill C-21, after several hiccups by then-Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino.

The bill aims more broadly to ban military-type weapons that are not used for hunting. "When we go moose hunting, we are not going to go to war on moose," said LeBlanc, who clarified he wants to pass Bill C-21 "in the coming weeks."

"What we want is to ensure that there is no escape," allowing gun owners and industry to "do indirectly what they cannot do directly," he said, adding the federal government would add additional resources to provincial and municipal police forces to carry out the law.

This is a developing story.

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